Fresh Peach Tart with Pastry Cream

Fresh Peach Tart with Pastry Cream
Serves about 8
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

• 3 to 4 cups fresh peach slices

Homemade crust
• 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 stick cold unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon, diced
• 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cold, iced water
• 1 cold egg

Pastry Cream (adapted from Paris Sweets, Dorie Greenspan)
• 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) whole milk
• 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (sub 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
• 3 large egg yolks
• 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
• 3 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Crust: Whisk dry ingredients together. Add butter in three batches and work into flour with pastry blender until butter is pea sized (visible butter bits are good- that’s what makes for a flaky crust). Slowly add 1/4 cup of cold water and the egg and form dough with a spatula. Add another tablespoon of water if dough isn’t formed yet. Gently and quickly knead dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour in fridge (if made ahead, dough will keep for 1 week in fridge). Roll out the dough and transfer dough to pie pan and pierce all over with a fork. Place pan in freezer until oven is preheated to 375F. Bake at 375F for 10 min with an aluminum foil cover on top to weigh it down, and then bake an extra 5 min without foil.

Pastry Cream: Bring the milk and vanilla bean (pulp and pod) to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and set aside for 10 minutes. Or, if you are using vanilla extract, just bring the milk to a boil and proceed with the recipe, adding the extract before you add the butter to the hot pastry cream.

Working in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together until thick and pale. Whisking all the while, very slowly drizzle a quarter of the hot milk onto the yolks. Then, still whisking, pour the rest of the liquid in a steady stream over the tempered yolks. Remove and discard the vanilla pod.

Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously and without stop, bring the mixture to the boil. Keep the mixture at a boil, whisking energetically, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and scrape the pastry cream into a clean bowl. Allow the pastry cream to cool on the counter for about 3 minutes.

Cut the butter into chunks and stir the chunks into the hot pastry cream, continuing to stir until the butter is melted and incorporated. At this point, the cream needs to be thoroughly chilled.  Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate the cream.  (The cream can be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or packed airtight and frozen for 1 month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and whip before using to return it to its smooth consistency.)

Shortly before you are ready to serve the tart, spread the pastry cream in the bottom of the baked tart shell and arrange the peaches over the top.

In a small saucepan, heat up some apricot jam with a 1 or 2 teaspoons of water until you get a thin glaze. Lightly brush apricot glaze on top of the fruit. This is what makes it shiny and really adds to the presentation.

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